Find Your Balance – Part I

Plan Your BalanceOne of the things I discuss ad nauseam with my wife and some friends is the idea of finding financial balance; that sweet spot between living for today and preparing for tomorrow.

Following a string of conversations, and a thoughtful reassessment, I have recently reduced the amount of planned retirement income. More on that shortly. First, some thoughts.

My experience has been that most families generally fall into one of four groups with respect to their financial planning. The first group simply has no understanding, and no real desire, to learn more regarding saving and investing for their future.

Often their focus in on living solely for the moment, certain that things will somehow work out in the future. Winning a lottery perhaps? Or maybe hitting it big in Las Vegas? The second group understands that they should be doing something, but are not sure where to start. That is exactly where I was in the early 2000s.

Churchill QuoteThe third group is saving and investing something; however, they are doing it blindly and could not tell you why they chose their particular investment products, have no discernible way to tell if they are saving enough for retirement, and they do not know how much they will need to sustain them in retirement.

The fourth group has at least the broad outlines of a plan in place, has used some type of calculator to quantify how much they should be saving, and is actively engaged in managing their finances with an eye on the future.

If you currently belong to one of the first three groups, with no discernible plan, your financial life is not balanced. Those that fall into the fourth group have either found their balance or at a minimum, have put themselves in a position to achieve that balance.

In my retirement plan over the last few years, I have consistently adjusted the desired annual income up. The retirement income goal has gone from $125,000 to $150,000 to $200,000…

To be continued with Find Your Balance – Part II on Monday

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. Financial balance has been our toughest test on the road to a comfortable retirement . I think learning to live in the moment with less to achieve a better future is still our biggest struggle . Looking forward to part 2 of finding your balance .

    • Finding that balance can be difficult. I believe people generally make two mistakes. First, there has to be a detailed spending plan, which supports a detailed retirement plan, in place. Otherwise you never know if what you are saving/investing is too little or too much. Second, there has to be a recognition that all plans are dynamic, not static. It isn’t a once and done proposition. As various factors (e.g. children go to college, a raise [or demotion] at work, the economic environment, etc.) change, so must the plans in order to maintain balance.

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